Who’s in charge here?

Last week I introduced you to the different parts of the brain.

Today let’s look at how they affect our decisions.

1. The Neocortex which is your ‘adult’ brain operates our executive or higher functions. It allows us to think outside the box, problem solve, multi-task, learn and grow. When your neocortex is in charge you are more likely make good decisions. It is like the ‘angel’ on your shoulder bringing your attention to the big picture and considering both the short and long term.

2. The Mammalian Brain, which is largely emotional, I call my ‘4 year old’ brain. Think about when you have witnessed a 4 year old in a full blown tantrum; they are single focused, stubborn and totally unreasonable— they want ‘it’ now! It doesn’t matter that the adult is trying to rationalize with them; they are ruled by their emotions and want immediate gratification.

3. Lastly there is the Reptilian Brain who my clients lovingly call “Lizzie”. Lizzie is in charge when we are in a stress response, and it’s her job is to get us out of that brain state.

For some of us, this state is characterized by not feeling anything. We shut down and focus on surviving the moment and don’t notice anything is wrong until we find ourselves overeating, watching too much TV, shopping excessively, smoking, etc.


When Lizzie is in charge there isn’t any higher level thinking happening, our adult brain is pretty much silent and we operate on instinct which can get us into trouble.

EBT challenge – over the next few days try and identify which part of your brain is dominant and ruling your decisions. Can you identify moments that you make decisions with your adult brain and moments when you recognize that the ‘4 year old’ or Lizzie is driving your behaviour?

Revive Wellness About Revive Wellness

Revive Wellness is a team of private practice Dietitians in Edmonton. We provide customized nutrition and wellness coaching that empowers Canadians to live with energy, vitality & health! www.revivewellness.ca

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